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Shark Cashing In On The Ratings

Apr 27, 2008
In September 2006, CBS debuted a new series about defense attorney Sebastian Stark, who has earned the nickname Shark due to his cutthroat nature. Stark is notorious for never losing a case, until he defends a man who abused his wife who after getting out of prison kills her.

Disgusted with how he has aided guilty men without giving it a second thought, Stark seeks to redeem himself by becoming a district attorney for the same district that despises him for the people he had gotten acquitted in the past.

The series stars Academy Award nominated actor James Woods as Sebastian Stark. Woods has received critical acclaim for this role due to the fact that it is in a similar vein to the types of witty, cynical, and sarcastic characters he has played in the past.

Another thing that earns him praise is how he portrays how the character of Stark matures from selfish, brash, unsympathetic, and uncaring man into a caring, convicted (in the emotional sense of the word) individual with a deeper sense of justice.

What sets him apart from other prosecutors is the use of the tactics that got defendants acquitted. In other words, he would fight fire with fire. The series also features Jeri Ryan as District Attorney Jessica Devlin, Danielle Panabaker as Julie Stark, Sophina Brown as Deputy District Attorney Raina Troy, Sarah Carter as Deputy District Attorney Madeline Poe, Henry Simmons as District Attorney Investigator Isaac Wright, Kevin Alejandro as Deputy District Attorney Danny Reyes.

The show has received comparisons to Fox's hit series House, M.D. due to the similar nature of a witty, crotchety, middle aged man who excels at a profession while leading a team of younger subordinates to solve problems that seem difficult to impossible to solve. The pilot of the series was directed by Spike Lee.

The series is a good example of legal drama done correctly, although not always accurately. A primary criticism of the show has been how involved the characters are in the investigation process, when in all actuality, the district attorney's job is not to gather evidence but to defend it.

The character of Stark has received minor criticism due to an episode in which he frames a serial killer for a murder he did not commit in order to put him behind bars once and for all.

The move was controversial as Stark was starting to learn the error of his cheating ways. The series, unfortunately, has not yet gone back into production due to the writer's strike, but production is expected to commence once again after the strike ends.
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